Arsenal's Santi Cazorla trains with former club Real Oviedo
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla trained at Real Oviedo's facilities on Monday as he continues his recovery from a severe Achilles injury that has kept him sidelined for more than 18 months.
The 33-year-old, whose contract with Arsenal expires this summer, said in January, shortly after undergoing his 10th surgery for the right ankle problem, that he was aiming to return to action in 2019.
Real Oviedo, where Cazorla started his playing career, tweeted a photograph of the former Spain international with the club's reserve side and said:" It's a luxury to have in our training facilities at El Requexon our youth product, club member and shareholder Santi Cazorla. This is your home Santi!"
Oviedo, who play in the Segunda Division, said that Cazorla had completed his daily workout as" he continues his recovery process."
Cazorla had a light training session on the Emirates pitch before his team's Europa League semifinal draw against Atletico Madrid last Thursday.
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger recently said Cazorla "feels well" but thinks the player's career at Arsenal may be over, though Cazorla told AS on Tuesday he is still hopeful of recovering before the end of the season.
"I've still got some way to go, because after being sidelined for 18 months, everything has to be done in its own time. But the sensations I have keep getting better and I'm feeling optimistic about the future," Cazorla said. "The objective is to play some part with the team before the season ends, but we have to take things carefully.
"After being out for so long it will take a while to get back into form, it's a real struggle, but when you have been out like I have, you also notice pains elsewhere -- apart from what I've had with my tendon.
"But all of that must mean that I am doing things right, and I hope to be back as soon as possible."
He has scored 29 goals in 180 appearances for the Gunners since joining the club from Malaga in 2012.
A Euro 2008 and 2012 winner with Spain, Cazorla thanked Arsenal in the past for being very supportive. Cazorla also recently took to Twitter to thank Wenger, who will step down at the end of the campaign after 21 and a half years in charge.
He tweeted: "Arsene, thank you very much! I have learnt with you!"
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.